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The European Commission may launch an infringement procedure against Lithuania if the parliament does not remove a cap of 1,500 hectares on forest land acquisitions per person, the Environment Ministry has warned.
Miškas
Miškas
© Romas Sadauskas - Kvietkevičius

The Commission has asked for an explanation from Lithuania because it suspects that the cap, imposed by the previous Seimas, might restrict the free movement of capital, it said in a press release on Tuesday.

Deputy Environment Minister Danas Augutis said that "the European Commission is likely to initiate a formal infringement procedure against Lithuania if the restrictions on the acquisition of forest land set by the Law on Forests remain unchanged".

Marijus Gailius, an advisor to Environment Minister Simonas Gentvilas, said on Tuesday he did not know yet whether the ministry would initiate amendments to the law.

The current law, in effect since early 2020, prohibits a single person or a group of related persons from acquiring more than 1,500 hectares of forest land in Lithuania.

Members of the previous parliament said the measure was aimed at preventing a high level of concertation of forest land ownership and reducing the negative impact of industrial forest harvesting on the environment.

Critics say the cap could discourage new investments.

President Gitanas Nauseda refused to sign the bill into law, but the Seimas overturned his veto.

BNS
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